Talking to Strangers: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Nerve asks deeply personal questions to people we just met.
BY MARTINA DECHEVSKA
Where are you from?
I'm from Haskovo, but I've lived in Plovdiv for three years. I work in a shoe store here.
Do you have customers hitting on you?
Oh yeah, they send me flowers or send other people to ask my name…
Have you ever dated a customer?
Yes, there was this guy who came in all the time. He bought shoes just to see me, he sent me flowers, and then he found my phone number somehow. I finally went out with him. We had dinner. It didn't work out, as I expected, but he was so insistent that I decided to give him a chance.
Do you have a boyfriend now?
Not exactly, I'm just flirting with someone. I don't really do long-term relationships. My longest one was three months and it happened around the same time last year.
How did you meet that guy?
We had common friends.
What kind of guys do you like?
I like funny, honest guys. Manly-looking, too.
How old were you when you first had sex?
Fifteen. It was horrible. I didn't like it at all. I was dating the guy for a month before we had sex and we did it at his place. We dated for two months more and then we broke up.
Where do you go to meet guys?
You can flirt everywhere here in Plovdiv! I usually meet guys at bars like Planet or Chervilo, but I go also on dates in quiet restaurants where you can have an actual conversation.
What's the biggest turn-off for you?
If the guy doesn't tip. I hate stingy men! That's very important in America, right? I've been there, actually.
Oh, yeah? Where in the U.S. have you been?
I was on a summer working program in Denver, Colorado and Gardiner, Montana couple years ago.
What do you think about the American guys?
They're cool and they communicate very easily.
Did you have a crush in America?
Yeah, but with a Bulgarian guy who was living in Denver. We had common friends and we saw each other only once. Then I moved to Montana and he took the plane and came to visit me for three days. It was good. We were going out on walks, we were talking a lot…
How long did you wait to have sex with him?
We had sex soon. There was no time for thinking, because I was just there for the summer.
Does size matter?
Yes. I've seen guys with small dicks once or twice, but it all ended up shortly. [Hiyo! – ed.]
Do you prefer one-night stands or relationships?
I can't say I like one-night stands more. I'm not against them — things happen impulsively and if I feel it that way I can do it — but I prefer if the sex is not just for one night. I like things with a future.
Do you have any crazy exes?
I like crazy guys! There's more adrenaline with them!
Where are you from?
I'm from Plovdiv, born and raised.
What do you do here?
I'm a high-school English teacher and I play bass in two local hardcore/punk bands, Vzriv and DFTS.
Do you have a girlfriend now?
No. My last relationship was eight years ago and I haven't had a girlfriend since then.
That's a lot of time! Why?
The whole relationship was one big drama, and I think I was traumatized by it. She was my high-school sweetheart, my first real big love… There were little conflicts in the beginning, which grew into big scandals. I was feeling betrayed, forsaken, like someone broke my trust. I haven't had a serious relationship since then.
How long were you together?
A lot — seven years.
Have you seen each other since you broke up?
Yes, once or twice. She's married now. I think she has two kids, and she teaches French. I saw her for the first time a year after we broke up and I felt distant, cold. There was some sentiment left, though.
So if she called you today and said, "I've realized you're the love of my life. I want to leave my husband and be with you again," what would you do?
I would say no, because this would be a premise for a cataclysm. She has her own family and her own responsibilities.
Did you break up with her or did she break up with you?
It was а consensus. I think I was ready for more compromises, but she was already over it. It was very hard for me, though.
You're also a musician. Have you ever hooked up with a girl after a show?
I've met girls, but nothing more. I don't like the idea of fucking my fans — that's not the reason I play music.
Have you ever had students hitting on you?
Yeah, it happens sometimes, because I'm a young teacher and I don't put a big distance between me and my students. I've had indecent proposals from my students few times. Once I wrote on my Skype status a part of a song dedicated to my favorite football team — saying "For you I gave my heart" — and then a student wrote and asked, "Is this for me? Why didn't you tell me earlier?" I started joking and I said, "Oh, yes, of course it's for you," and she answered, "Why don't we get together and do something then? But we can't in my place, because my parents are here. What about your place?" I was very amused but at some point I told her that it wasn't a good idea — she was sixteen and I was thirty-one. I told her that this would never happen, and she got offended.
Have you ever had sexual fantasies about a student?
Let's say I have, but I would never do anything, because it can only lead to bad consequences for both parties.
How old was the youngest girl you've had sex with?
My ex in high school was seventeen, but she wasn't my student. I was nineteen then. However, I have to say that I've been seeing ex-students, but after they already graduated. They were over eighteen.
Have you ever had sex with an ex-student?
Yes, I had a short affair with one ex-student, but two years after she graduated. She contacted me, because she was looking for a personal English teacher and she wanted my opinion about someone. We saw each other once and then we started hanging out. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and she was a little depressed. I think she was looking for some support and solace.
How did you end up having sex?
It was her initiative. We were at some party, she knew the people and I was feeling like an outsider, so I was drinking. At some point, under the influence of alcohol, we started to make out and then we went to her place. She was twenty and I was twenty-eight.
How was the sex?
I don't remember, honestly. I was drunk. I think she felt uncomfortable after that night and she pulled away. We saw each other once after that, but it was awkward.
Where do you go out to meet girls?
I don't really go out with that idea. I have a lot of friends and I usually meet girls through them. But recently I've enjoyed more just the conversation and the company… I'm looking for a serious relationship now and I haven't met the right person yet.
What qualities should a woman have to start a serious relationship with you?
I want her to have confidence, which is very rare. If women have low self-esteem, it's their problem, but unfortunately they pass it to their partners. They suffer inside, and it feels like they want a companion in this suffering. That's why I'm seeking a confident woman, without issues like that.
Where are you from, Tatyana?
I was born and raised in Plovdiv. I study Bulgarian philology and journalism at the University of Plovdiv, and work as a manicurist in a salon.
Do guys come to get their nails done and hit on you?
Yeah, that happens all the time. They usually say that I have pretty eyes with long eyelashes. The usual. They're all the same. That's a very common thing for the guys in Plovdiv.
Do you flirt with anyone at your university?
No, there are no guys in my class. We're all girls.
Are you attracted to girls?
Well, I have an affinity for beautiful women, but I'm not sexually attracted to them. But I've kissed girls many times, and liked it, because they know how to kiss. Girls are much better kissers than guys, for sure!
Would you have sex with a woman?
Absolutely, but I still haven't found the right one. There should be a sexual attraction between us in the moment I see her — only sexual, though. The rest doesn't matter.
What's the biggest age difference you've had with a sexual partner?
Ten years. I was eighteen and he was twenty-eight. He was my boyfriend for a month. But after we had sex for the first time, I was really disappointed in his size.
So size matters to you?
Oh yes, definitely. It should be big enough to satisfy me.
What was your longest relationship?
Four months. That was three years ago. But I felt cold to him at some point and it ended quickly.
Do you have a boyfriend now?
No. I’ve been single for three months and I like it.
So what qualities does a man need to have for you to start a relationship with him? There isn't a particular formula. Everyone is different. I'm a difficult person, and usually everything ends due to jealousy. I'm not the jealous one, though — I'm just a free spirit. For example, once I was in a bar with my boyfriend from back then. He thought I was flirting with the bartender, and when I looked back at him, he was kissing another girl. He went outside with her and she left, and when he came back alone, he tried to kiss me, but I started to fight him. We fought in the club, and I mean a serious fight — with kicks and everything. I had hair extensions that he ruined so I had to pay 600 leva [around $400] back to my salon. We didn't see each other for a week, but then we kept dating for a while. Now I'm really good friends with the girl he kissed that night.
Why did you keep seeing him? Because he had a big penis?
That's one of the reasons, but yeah… he was doing a really good job! We're still friends, but we don't have sex anymore.
How many people are you sleeping with now?
Just one, but he lives in the capital, Sofia. I don't want to date him, because we live in different cities, but also because I know he won't just be with me.
Have you ever cheated in a relationship?
No. If I want to be with someone else, I just end my relationship first. I want to be honest.
Which part of the male body is most attractive to you?
The hands and the face.
What about the female body?
The face and the ass!
Have you ever had a threesome?
Yes. We were partying at a house out of town and in the morning we all ended up in one bed. It happened very naturally. But it was just a sexual experience, nothing more.
Do you think that Bulgarians are sexually open?
Oh, no! I think that the Bulgarian men have a complex from the women, as the women here become more and more powerful and have more and more opportunities. The woman commands the parade, while the man has no opinion. She shows him that she doesn't care if he's with her or not — she can pay the bills, she can say when and where they're going to go or have sex. I think Bulgarian men like it, because this happens in ninety percent of the relationships here. In the other ten percent, the men have more power and the girls are perceived as easy or sluts.